I started the day with a bit of a medical adventure. For the past four days, my husband Gary has been in some of the worst pain (and subsequently, some of the worst depression) I have ever seen him in. His doctor has not been managing his pain properly, partly because new laws prevent him from doing so, but also partly because his doctor doesn't seemingly give enough of a shit to think outside the box on this.

For those who hadn't read the backstory, Gary suffers from reflex sympathetic dystrophy (incurable, which causes severe pain in his left leg; he has a spinal cord stimulator to address much of the pain). How severe? Take your leg. Liberally pour gasoline on it. Light it with a match. Now imagine it being on fire and never going out.

Recently, Gary started experiencing severe pain and numbness in his left arm; he went to the ER for a pain shot (which he has to do every so often) but because the pain was radiating into his chest, the ER was afraid he was having a heart attack and sent him to the hospital, which kept him for 24 hours and released him with a new prescription. Which, unbeknownst to Gary, was a controlled substance, and Gary having the script put him in violation of his pain management agreement and he got red flagged and his doctor subsequently withheld pain medication refills because of legal reasons.

After the hospital visit, Gary went to see a specialist, who determined that he's got a bone spur in his neck vertebrae that is compressing nerves and is causing his pain and numbness in his arm; he needs surgery for that. We've been trying to get that scheduled before I lose my insurance.

But in the meantime, because of the lack of proper medication, Gary's pain has gotten unbearable and he's been suicidally depressed as a result. Because that's what unbearable pain does to a person. For the past four days he's sat huddled on the couch under a blanket staring at the floor because any movement made things worse and there was too much pain to sleep. That is not being properly alive. That is hell.

I read Gary's regular doctor the riot act through the MyChart system, and called the practice first thing this morning, and another doctor was able to see him.

We told her what was going on, and she said "There's nothing I can do," and I broke down sobbing there in the exam room.

After I regained my composure, we discussed the situation some more and there was something she could do: prescribe him gabapentin, which he was on years ago and had stopped taking because it stopped working, but some research indicates that trying such drugs again after a break can result in them working well again. Apparently it, too, is going to become a controlled substance in January, but it isn't one yet.

The gabapentin helped a great deal. Which is good. He got sleep. I got sleep. But in January we're gonna have to play this awful game of Simon Says again.

In the meantime, the war on drugs, which has turned into a war on sick people, can suck my ass.

Deleted everything I wrote previously because it was whiny and annoying. Frustrated with how much I'm spending at work - I wrote down all of the banking transactions from my checking and savings accounts to spot trends and to see the grim horror for myself on paper. Writing it down seems more real. I used to carry cash, then my oldest stole $100 from me and I quit. I want to get back to that. Writing out a menu would help. Taking two meals to work each day instead of one would help. Cutting down on the number of convenience items I buy would help, actually making and eating the food I purchase would also be helpful because then I wouldn't need to buy more to replace what went bad.

I have a cash flow problem. A lot of my bills are clustered together toward the end of the month, rent is due on the first of each month, and I end up in a crunch about this time every four or five weeks due to poor planning on my part. Last month I lost out because I didn't submit an expense report in a timely fashion. This month I paid for the girls to go to the dentist after my ex said he would be responsible for that. I put myself in a position where I was stuck holding the bill and now I'm mad because those two things cost me more than $600. That's money that I could have used as a cushion in my checking account for times like this. I know I'll be okay, but I don't like feeling like this. 

Part of the solution is setting some financial goals. Currently I don't have any. Creating some would give me a benchmark, I can be aggressive and this would be good for me. Anything I attempt will be better than the current no plan I have going on now - failing to plan instead of planning to fail. I went a bit overboard what with finally having a job again, that was lazy and irresponsible of me, and I want to act in a way that is mature, industrious, and accountable. I work way too hard to be tossing my money away like this. I'm the grocery store equivalent of the faithful Starbucks customer who laments the fact that they can't afford whatever is is they want while leaving a portion of their earnings at the famous Seattle based company. Won't be easy, but I'm determined. I'm tired of this. It's time to change.

Praying this finds you well,

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